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The relation between neuroimaging and visual impairment in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy: A systematic review.

Brain & Development 2024 Februrary
OBJECTIVE: The structure-function relation between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and visual impairment (VI) in children with cerebral palsy (CP) has not been fully unravelled. The present systematic review aims to summarize the relation between brain lesions on MRI and VI in children and adolescents with CP.

METHODS: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science Core Collection, and Cochrane Database were systematically searched according to the PRISMA checklist. A total of 45 articles met the inclusion criteria.

RESULTS: White matter lesions were most frequently associated with VI. Only 25 studies described lesions within specific structures, mainly in the optic radiations. Only four studies reported on the thalamus. 8.4% of children with CP showed no brain abnormalities on MRI. Diffusion-weighted MRI studies showed that decreased structural connectivity in the optic radiations, superior longitudinal fasciculus, posterior limb of the internal capsule, and occipital lobe is associated with more severe VI.

CONCLUSIONS: All types of brain lesions lead to visual dysfunctions, arguing for a comprehensive visual assessment in all children with CP. Whereas white matter damage is a well-known contributor, the exact contribution of specific visual structures requires further investigation, to enable early prediction, detection, and intervention.

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